< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Hope for All Seasons

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hope for All Seasons

I went to the Woman to Woman Conference Friday night and all day Saturday at the Hickory Metro Convention Center. The theme was Hope for All Seasons and the keynote speaker was Anne Graham Lotz. (One of my very favorites!) This post is what she covered Friday night.

1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

In today’s world we put our hope in so many things: the stock market, the company we work for, our health, our ability. When any of it fails – we lose hope.

Sometimes we lose hope because of the day after day same old same old problems. We pray about them, we try to fix them, but they never go away.

Biblical hope is confidence. Our hope rests in God’s plan, God’s person and God’s purpose.

The 1st century Christians were losing hope in God. Jesus hadn’t returned yet and there was a crazy man ruling who demanded they bow down to him and call him god. When they wouldn’t he burned them at the stakes, fed them to the lions and nailed them to crosses.

God gave the Apostle John the vision to write the book of Revelation to give them hope. Today it’s one of the last books we look at when it should be the first. It’s meant to give us hope!

God’s plan is revealed in Jesus. It was all about Jesus since before the creation of the world. The key to understanding the book of Revelation is to focus on Jesus.

We have hope in the world because Jesus is in charge. When it looks like the world is falling apart it’s really just falling into place. (Study prophecy – you’ll see!)

Revelation says “blessed is he who reads this”. And really we are blessed anytime we open our Bibles. God knows our problems and He will help us manage them so that we can bring Him glory. And we bring Him glory as we become more like His Son.

Revelation 1:8 says He’s the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end of the alphabet. He is all wisdom. He knows everything about us and has known our names since before we were born.

John was suffering for his testimony. Sometimes we think when we are suffering it means God doesn’t love us. But remember, John was the disciple that Jesus loved yet he was in exile for doing something completely in God’s will. Sharing Jesus to others. His suffering ended up bringing glory to God through the writing of the last book of the Bible. God allows us to suffer for a greater purpose. We need to understand this; know that our lives will never be trouble free and deal with it!

John, even though he was alone on that tiny island, was “in the spirit” on “the Lord’s Day”. When we are going through trials we need to stay in the Word. Stay close to God. Don’t complain. Show others that we are trusting that God has a plan for our life and He will use this for our good and for His glory.

We lose hope because we keep trying to get Jesus to make our life the way we want. When He doesn’t do what we tell Him to we get upset! We need to rest in His plan. We need to have a submissive spirit and just ask Him to let us know what to do next.

In Revelation 1:13 Jesus was dressed in the robe of a high priest. Right this minute He is our high priest and praying for us by name. The golden sash around His chest was like that of a King’s. He held seven stars in His right hand representing the seven churches (us). We are in His right hand because He wants to use us. His word is double edged. We need to be in the word to use it.

John fell at His feet like a dead man. Dead men don’t talk back. They don’t argue or give excuses. No more struggling against His will. 

No matter what happens in your life, focus on Jesus and continue to praise Him for who He is and what He has already done for you. Accept His purpose in your life. Read the Bible to know His will and then do it! Surrender!

Jesus put His hand on John and said “Don’t be afraid” because He knows we are sometimes afraid to surrender because of what He might ask us to do. But the better we know Him the more we will want what He wants! God’s will is good and pleasing and perfect. But we won’t get it until we surrender to Him.


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